Presidential system and vision for Pakistan, are real discourse

The final authority must be given to Supreme Court for proper interpretation and guidance on legislation to the parliament

Zahra K. Haq

There is a huge cacophony-debates on the mainstream and social media over the presidential system in Pakistan. Television anchors, seasoned newspaper journalists, writers and various representatives of civil society are speaking about it at length so far. The main questions are about the nature of the system, form of the system, and its structural contours are in the air and have been the part of arguments and encounter arguments. My very reason to pen the discussion of presidential system of checks and balances is in part and the complete vision behind it overall. So, let’s have a stroll through it.

Feel sure that to achieve national political justice in Pakistan, reforms of the constitution would have to be answered through a referendum. On a larger scale, the strengthening of the pillars of economy through constitutional reform and eventually securing a permanent seat at the U.N Security Council as a representative of 60 Islamic countries is called the Vision for Pakistan. Vision for Pakistan theorized in ordered progression, gradualism, democratic norms, and evolutionary politics, and above all, constitutionalism. These formative influences of V4P developed the ideas based on economic, cultural, political, and social justice in Pakistan which stands for equality, sovereign state, and fraternity. However, the absence of a constitution during 1947-1973 culminated into the political turmoil in Pakistan.

As a state, what are the fundamental basis and principle of Pakistan? Pakistan’s neighboring countries such as China, Iran, and India based on the existence of being sovereign state having territorial nationalism while European countries France, Germany, or the even UK have linguistic nationalism. This kind of fierce nationalism is also found in Arab states. But Pakistan and the United States of America’s political attachments have the values and norms of a pluralistic liberal democratic constitution called constitutional nationalism as a substitute of cosmopolitan society and national culture. Pakistan, being only 75 years old lacks some of the constituents and processes involved in the recognition of group politico-territorial identities. Therefore, the solitary logical choice for Pakistan’s existence left as a state is a constitutional nationalism.

Fortunately, the establishment of Pakistan on August 14, 1947, came with an objective resolution as a basic constitution but could not be extended as a full constitution which resulted the Dacca Debacle on December 16, 1971, later, one unit of Pakistan was divided into two states, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Squandering of ethnic mobilization and centralization of political power in Pakistan is the consequence of suspension in the 1973 constitution which was suspended by Islamic ideology because of its two clauses. First, “Qaradad e Maqasid” and in the second place “no legislation will be done repugnant to Quran and Sunnah”. Furthermore, it must not be overlooked that the subsequent constitutions of 1956, 1962, and 1973 were not approved through referendum by the people of Pakistan and therefore they have no legitimacy.

Following the “Two Nation Theory” is adopted by the 1973 constitution, making constitutional nationalism the logical foundation of Pakistan. Hence, the 1973 Constitution is subjected to be a conflicted social contract that does not provide national political justice to the five regions of Pakistan i.e., Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Kashmir. This lack of political justice proved a thwarted compromise between Modernists and Islamists. Furthermore, this has made the constitution structurally weak and unqualified to hold itself during the military coups of 1977 and 1999. The evidence suggests that in Pakistan it is more political centralization rather than fiscal and monetary.  This political centralization representation stows the stage for political violence and instability in Pakistan. To move towards political justice, stability and bring unity in Pakistan, the needful for constitution pragmatism must be endorsed through the adoption of a referendum. And the ineffective ducking for cover in the blame game between military generals and politicians must end.

Let’s start exploring; Vision 4 Pakistan to revive and reform the socioeconomic justice and national political values of Pakistan on sustainable basis. Through referendum in next election safeguard law and the constitutional check and balance mechanism requires not only a strengthening of federal system as well local governments. This reversion of check and balance explains the future of local governments in Pakistan where citizens must be able to choose their health, education and social housing service provided from the public purse. Also, in which local governments decentralize their own tax revenue collection without depending on Federal system. The question that arises here is why the presidential system has failed in Pakistan, in previous structures? It revealed that in Pakistan there was not ever a strong presidential system. In the regime of General Zia-ul-Haq, Pervez Musharraf and Asif Ali Zardari reflects no true separation of powers in the system like Muhammad Khan Junejo had the parliamentary system ultimately leading the mandate of presidential political process of General Zia-ul-Haq. While Pakistan needs fiscal federalism and local government to raise local restructuring. The local government should not be made to depend on federal legislation and state where federal system delineates functional responsibilities examined foreign and domestic evacuation plans.

First and foremost, V4P to recoupling billion-dollar to trillion-dollar economies. Secondly, to achieve a position in the Security Council Pakistan must make a move towards socioeconomic growth. Out of the world’s population of 7.7 billion, 1.9 billion are Muslims and still no Muslim nation has qualified for permanent membership in the U.N. Security Council with veto power remain unsolved, leading to wars, extremism, terrorism and so much more. Pakistan is the onliest competent out of 60 Muslim nations for qualifying this permanent membership with veto power. So, Pakistan’s membership should follow the road map declared in this Vision for Pakistan, and that wrap-up achieving for national, regional, and global peace and stability. Thirdly, presidential system allows candidates from small provinces to be elected on a representation basis as popular vote. In the past, also a concern of presidential candidates from small provinces unable to be elected due to the lack of a popular vote. But this fear has been proven wrong by the election of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto due to the popular vote from Punjab. Next, because of a future referendum, the Muslims of Kashmir valley which’ s about 8 million Muslims can merge with the Kashmir province of Pakistan to achieve senate seats for constituency recognition.

In this present scenario presidential system, at most winning and competitive determinant of weak political institutions for a legislative change in a country. Under this presidential system of government, the constitution issues will only deal with social, political, and economic justice. The final authority must be given to Supreme Court for proper interpretation and guidance on legislation to the parliament.  While each province in Pakistan going to have their own supreme courts regarding the improvements and interpretation of the constitution and the law. As a result, sectarianism would turn down indirectly. Similarly, as a revolutionary change in land reforms the provincial government relegate responsibility for providing irrigation and agricultural tool and machinery to the farmers. Because 100 million acres of Pakistan’s total area is agricultural land, and it should be declared in the constitution as district land with the mechanism that allows only working farmers from the same district to lease the agricultural land not for sale, purchase, inheritance, and gift. Geographical stability by newly created districts will be merged into their original districts and each of the 3 sub-districts of each province will have 1 senate seat which will be directly elected.

The public survey with a consensus already throws away to the media for the debate and possible success of presented constitutional reforms in next elections where president need 51% votes to win in the elections. The outcome will be the collaboration of the leadership of political parties, especially those that reinforce change of the status quo. And for the readers who are not familiar with the system of checks and balances means, transparency, accountability and compliance and proper functioning of the complete government should be checked and balance in an equation where Supreme Court keep a check on president and parliament, a parliament keep check on supreme court and president keep check on supreme court and the parliament make the system of government balanced for the fabulous socio-economic political stake.

Wrapping it up in the end Vision 4 Pakistan is the only way forward Peace, Progress and Prosperity 4 Pakistan.


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